Warning: If you’re struggling through a cold northern winter, the pictures in this gallery may offend you. Or they may help you daydream your way through the next blizzard.
Our second island stop in Thailand was Koh Ngai. We couldn’t resist the lure of an island so small and quiet that it has no roads or wheeled vehicles of any sort (and is only inhabited during the six-month tourism season). Most of Koh Ngai consists of jungle-covered hills and rocky coastlines; the only developed area is the eastern side of the island, which has a mile-long beach of fine sand and eight or nine lodging options—ranging from tents to an ultramodern hotel block with a pool. We opted for a middle ground, beautiful Coco Cottages, which boast a pretty green setting and one of the best restaurants on the island. It was an utterly peaceful place, with nothing to do but read, swim, snorkel, eat, walk on the beach, bob on the waves in big inner tubes, watch the changing light play over the rocky islands dotting the horizon, look for birds and monitor lizards, and watch boats go by. Our cottage was a big splurge ($100 a night, versus our usual budget of about $25 a night), but we had lots of editing work to do to help pay for it. And Coco’s breezy beachfront tables made the most gorgeous office imaginable.